By Tiffany Jordan
HCHS 12th Grader
AHOSKIE – “I don’t care what your disability is – every student deserves a good education. Every student deserves to reach their goals.” – Jacquelyn Lee.
Jacquelyn Lee, born on September 5, 1956, in Newport News, VA to Dorothy and Fred Weaver is the newest edition to Hertford County Public School’s Exceptional Children Department. Before reaching her goal to become a teacher, Mrs. Lee was a custodian at Hertford County Public Schools. Her love of children motivated her to serve in this capacity.
“Even though I was a custodian, I wanted to do better,” she said.
The same motivation and the good influences of a wonderful network of support helped her answer her calling for teaching.
Jacquelyn attended Northampton High School, and from there got her GED with Roanoke Chowan Community College. Her main goal was to enter a profession where she could help people.
The year 2012 brought Mrs. Lee an Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration. However, her love of children brought her down another path. She transitioned into a custodian’s position at HCPS. Being near children made Mrs. Lee see that she wanted to be in the classroom.
“Just seeing the students struggling makes me want to do more to help them,” she said.
Don’t get her wrong, she has a lot of love and respect for her previous job title as custodian. To perform this job, Mrs. Lee says: “You got to love the kids. You gotta love what you’re doing.”
It was this same love that helped Mrs. Lee go through the journey from custodian to teacher.
As 2012 continued, Mrs. Lee began going to school online with Liberty University, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Special Education Interdisciplinary Studies (K-12), in view.
Reflecting on this time, Mrs. Lee relates, “It was hard honey!” She battled negative feelings and self-doubt along the way. Thankfully, she had a group of encouraging fellow staff that were with her every step of the way. Teachers such as Matthew Bruce would help her with math and accounting, Jonathan Crossan and Wallace Johnson would assist her with social studies, and Mrs. Pamela Scott with English. Not only were the skills and experience of these teachers of great support, but Mrs. Lee remembers their moral support with much gratitude.
When Mrs. Lee had long, twenty page essays to write she recalls saying to Mrs. Scott: “I can’t do it.” Mrs. Scott would always reply: “Yes you can!” Even the students Mrs. Lee would interact with were a big help. They would tell her “You can do it Mrs. Lee! You can do it! One day, you will be our teacher.”
That brings us to 2016. Mrs. Jacquelyn Lee is a graduate of Liberty University and filling a needed role of a caring Exceptional Children’s teacher. Just in her past few months of teaching, she has seen the difference she has made in the lives of her students. About her choice of profession, Mrs. Lee says: “I think a lot about my kids. That’s why I chose exceptional children. They are different. All children are good children. I love them all.” This love can be seen and felt in every day she has filled in her new role.
Mrs. Lee’s own children and grandchildren were a special motivation as well. She enjoys traveling and visiting them at all opportunities. She sees herself settling down and spending time with her grandkids in the next five years. In the meantime, Mrs. Lee continues to make a difference at Hertford County High. She wants kids to see by her going from custodian to teacher, “If she can do it, I can do it too.” Mrs. Lee is furthering her education still, expressing “I just want to learn more.” No doubt, many students will learn from and be motivated by Mrs. Jacquelyn Lee for years to come.